You may have already seen the good news earlier today, but I wanted to mention it here too: Liam Maxwell has signed on the dotted line to stay with us as Chief Technology Officer for government until at least 2018.
That's good news for all sorts of reasons.
Liam is famous around government for waving his phone at people. Wrapped around that phone is a case emblazoned with the words "What is the user need?" - a simple question that we’re encouraging government departments to ask more often, because knowing the answer helps them do the right thing.
Armed with that phone case, Liam and his team have started the process of redesigning technology governance in Government from top to bottom. Gone is the astonishing complexity that used to govern how we bought and procured IT in the past. (Look at the diagrams below - we have closed over 20 boards, and introduced governance by browser wherever possible.) Liam's made it simpler, which has made it better.
Gradually, we’re saying goodbye to the days of government services run as huge monolithic silos. Now we want to implement government as a platform, government made from platforms: re-usable, interconnected, easily replaced components that can be used and shared by everyone.
Since he joined GDS, Liam has been an important force for change. His team has achieved a great deal in a short time (take a look at the team blog and you’ll see what I mean). Liam, supported now by Magnus Falk as deputy CTO, has attracted the type of talent we need in Government. Andy Beale and Tom Read are rolling out new common technology services, James Duncan is transforming the Public Services Network and Kevin Humphries is establishing a cross-government technical architecture function.
Outside of the central group, Liam is pivotal in recruiting experienced technology talent and the quality of the Technology Leaders group is evidence that we are at last bringing in top-tier technology skills.
We need to keep up that momentum, and we need more time to make bigger, more ambitious changes happen, then let them settle down and become the new normal. With Liam as CTO for at least the next three years, I’m confident that’s going to happen.